Out photographer Tim Hailand gets way behind the velvet rope—heck, even behind the bedroom door—with his One Day in the Life of… photo books. His first, 2010’s One Day in the Life of Daniel Radcliffe, tracked the extremely gay-friendly actor from morning (waking up in bed!) till night, while February 22 saw the release of the series’ second and third entries—each featuring a queer musician—One Day in the Life of Rufus Wainwright and One Day in the Life of Jake Shears.
Both tomes feature Hailand’s intimate black-and-white images of his subjects as they prepare for (and wind down from) an evening concert, which is documented in full color. Each book’s photos are accompanied by text from the subjects, while Elton John and Kylie Minogue provide an intro and afterword, respectively, to the Shears book. A portion of the books’ proceeds will go to charities determined by Shears and Wainwright (specifically, the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Kate McGarrigle Fund).
The Buffalo, New York-born photographer has snapped a bevy of queer icons, from UK pop gods The Pet Shop Boys and cult artists Gilbert & George to transgender actress Candis Cayne and singer/performer Justin Bond, for numerous international publications. In fact, the One Day series grew out of a Jake Shears photo essay assignment for VMAN magazine. Here Hailand dishes on his “day” job, his subjects, and who’s next.
Tim Hailand: I’m very much inspired by great performers—those who seem to be able to do what I can’t do. After shooting Jake Shears for VMAN five years ago, I decided to expand upon this “one-day-long” portrait concept and use it for my own work. Dan Radcliffe is a friend, and the book arose out of our friendship. As a person, Dan is incredibly charismatic and super smart—wise beyond his years. He’s also very curious, as most smart people tend to be. Rufus and Jake have been friends of mine for quite some time, and I’ve been photographing them over the years both onstage and off. I love their work—Scissor Sisters’ Night Work and Rufus’s All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu were my favorite records of 2010—and they just seemed the next natural choices as book subjects.
Did either of the guys dictate rules as far as what you could and couldn’t shoot?
The books are portraits of each subject, of their personalities. No real rules were set up, but I’m always sensitive to and respectful of any subjects’ sense of self and what I perceive to be their boundaries.
Did you always plan to shoot on the day of a concert? Or did you consider another occasion?
We wanted to choose a day that has a creative crescendo, that captures the height of their creativity. That’s why the book moves into color at that “high creative” point of the day. They’re all performers, so we wanted to capture what they do best.
Shooting one person for 14 hours is demanding in itself—staying both focused and flexible at the same time, going with the flow, and capturing what I perceive to be the rhythm of that particular person’s day. It’s both an exhilarating and exhausting process, as it requires much psychic energy, but I’m very pleased with the end results.
How many shots did you take of each subject? Did any photos that you loved not make it into the books?
Probably somewhere around 2,000? In editing the book I chose images that best told the story of that subject, of that day. I think my favorite images made it into each book, although there are a few that probably stand on their own.
Does being queer yourself somehow affect your choices in subjects or what you draw out of them?
It’s funny you should ask, as I recently met with a heterosexual wrestling coach who’s a big advocate of LGBT acceptance, and in looking at my photos I asked him if one could detect the “queer gaze” of the photographer. He didn’t think so. I think I photograph those that I’m attracted to, sometimes sexually, sometimes in terms of inspiration. I’m interested in those who occupy “the space in between”—those who are a bit of an “outsider” to mainstream culture, but are ultimately the true creators.
Who else is on your wish list for future One Day subjects?
The next confirmed subject is theater director Robert Wilson. I’ll be documenting his new opera, The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic, in July, which will also feature Marina Abramovic, Antony Hegarty [of Antony and The Johnsons], and Willem Dafoe. I’m very excited about that project! Kylie Minogue lent her words to Jake Shears’ book, and I’d like to make a book with her, so I’m working on that possibility now. I’d also like to do a book with Lady Gaga, Marc Jacobs, David Bowie, and heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko. I already shot a day with Welsh rugby legend Gareth Thomas—he came out as gay in 2009, and was recently on Ellen DeGeneres’s show.
One Day in the Life of . . . series
Daniel Radcliffe, Rufus Wainwright, and Jake Shears by Tim Hailand
Radcliffe: 116 pages, 50 images
Wainwright: 108 pages, 92 images
Shears: 104 pages, 73 images
2010 and 2011, Hailand Books (onedayinthelifeof.org)
Lawrence Ferber is a freelance writer and a frequent contributor to OutSmart magazine.